On December 1, Blayne turned 11. She had a great day, and we are so lucky to have her in our family.
The next day, December 2, Thaddeus turned 12. This is a big birthday in the Mormon world, because it means you graduate from Primary to Young Men's. It also means that Thaddeus can be ordained as a deacon, and pass the sacrament at church.
Sadly, Thaddeus' actual birthday was hectic, because it was a Wednesday, and there was mutual, which Thaddeus now goes to, and Troy was in charge of a combined activity.... which means I was in charge of a combined activity for the Young Men and Young Women of our ward. The kids and I put together a super fun Christmas themed Minute-to-Win-It game night. We divided the kids into three teams, and they had silly tasks to do with only ONE MINUTE to finish the best they could. If no one could complete a task in time, then the point went to whoever got the farthest the fastest.
The first event was a relay race. First, they had a wreath around their necks. Then, they had to blow up a balloon to put between their knees (to waddle like a penguin), and walk across the gym to pass the wreath to the next person on their team, BUT you could not use your hands. It was so funny to see these kids trying to get the wreath off their necks and on to the next person. The trick was that the passee needed to kneel down so the passer could just bow their head and have the wreath fall off onto the passee.
The next game was a marshmallow (snowball) toss. Each team got a bag of marshmallows and a bucket, and they had to toss the snowball into the bucket (it was about 6 feet away). The winner was whoever had the most marshmallows in their bucket.
Then we played "Do You Hear What I Hear?". The kids and I had wrapped up gifts for each team, and inside the boxes was jingle bells. BUT, every box had a different number of bells. The object of the game was to put the boxes in order from quietest to loudest. Now, after them finished this game, we moved on to the next before we figured out who won. This was because our next event was unwrapping the gifts.... with oven mitts on your hands. (This is where the whole who got farthest the fastest in important) When the minute was up, we awarded points to the teams. Then we had them unwrap the remaining gifts and count the jingle bells. Each team got a point for every box that was correctly placed.... Some of the kids really need to work on their listening skills. :)
We also had an ornament conveyor belt challenge, and a whipped cream Christmas tree challenge. It was tons of fun, and a great night for everyone.
Then my parents came to town to see Thaddeus be ordained. Troy's parents also drove up for the ordination.
After that, it was the Christmas Band and Orchestra concert. Everyone did really well and it's exciting to see them progressing in their musical abilities.
We also had a Creche Show, the ward Christmas brunch, the church Christmas program, Primary Teacher appreciation dinner, a Christmas party with the Christensen's, book club, and Tamale making. Plus, the ice rink opened, so their's been ice skating and school Christmas parties.
On top of all this, the kids were DYING to earn some cash. I said I would be happy to make cookies, and they could sell them.... WELL. Blayne is quite the saleswoman and persuaded a ton of teachers and friends to buy cookies. Except we had to have a little heart-to-heart because she was taking orders for different kinds of cookies, and I only agreed to make sugar cookies, NOT chocolate chip, NOT peanut butter, NOT gluten free. Regular, old, sugar cookies with my super delicious vanilla almond buttercream frosting. And sugar cookies were quite a production, because things bake a little differently up here on the mountain tops. I threw quite a few cookies into the garbage, before I tweaked my original recipe to work up here. Everybody really like the cookies, and the kids made a lot of money, so everyone was happy. (And don't worry, I made sure to take my cut for ingredient and labor cost.)
Then of course we had Christmas Adam, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. Needless to say, we were busy little beavers, and I was really glad that I had finished all my Christmas shopping and whatnot in November. The kids got bikes, and have been riding non-stop ever since. They also got a few other things, but BIKES were the big surprise. It was a great day, and we are so blessed to have had such a great year.